Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Assisted suicide reaches new level

Charlie Butts - OneNewsNow - 10/27/2009 4:30:00 AM

Assisted suicide, legal in Oregon and Washington state, has resulted in an unexpected twist.

Hospitals can opt out and refuse to permit doctor-assisted suicides on their premises, but staff members who do not support that can act outside of their jobs. Rita Marker of the International Task Force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide explains further.

"Take for example a social worker who works at that hospital, but she can, and in fact, recently it was a situation where a social worker from a hospital which has opted out [of assisted suicide] was conducting a training session for hostage and crisis negotiators from the law enforcement agencies, and she was explaining if someone is suicidal, there are certain things to look for," says Marker. "And then as part of her presentation, she mentioned if a person is suicidal here are the options."

According to Marker, one of those options was assisted suicide with assistance provided by Compassions and Choices, the old Hemlock Society. As she explains, patients would simply need to call a number, and a volunteer will instruct them how.

In other words, crisis negotiators could be trying to talk people out of killing themselves, while at the same time offering instructions on how to assist people in killing themselves. And while that is "certainly repugnant," states Marker, it is not illegal.

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